Lexi has lived her whole life in the small village of Near, where stories of the Near Witch kept the villagers wary of strangers and the traditions they once all accepted. But Lexi has always been one to follow after her father, thinking that witches are not to be feared and change can be good. So when a stranger shows up in the middle of night on the outskirts of Near, shes both curious and nervous.
Then a child is found missing the next morning.
Word of the stranger finally makes its way to the small-minded villagers, who are convinced the stranger has something to do with the missing boy. But Lexis not so sure. She seeks him out, knowing that the old Thorne sisters, long believed to be witches, would be harboring him. The stranger, Cole, is distant and wary, refusing to answer any of Lexis questions.
As more and more children go missing, Lexi starts to look for them herself, since the village leaders are blinded by their suspicion of the stranger, refusing to see what Lexi sees something much more evil.
With Coles help, Lexi struggles to find the missing kids and vanquish the evil thats calling them from their beds, before its too late.
My take: While this is much more of a mystery than a scary story, I got an M. Night Shyamalanesque feeling while reading this book and enjoyed it. I liked Lexi as a character; she was rather strong and always wanted to seek out the truth. Cole was a bit weak for me (always sad and just kind of ... without a backbone) as a leading male character. I really hated Otto and Tyler, which is good, because they were characters meant to be hated. I think the thing I liked the most, though, was the way the author wrote. Her use of details in the everyday, mundane life made everything so much richer and interesting.
My rating: Content-wise, Id rate this a PG for the fact that it has witches and the occasional kiss.